Thursday, June 26, 2008

Another Master Teacher

My eighty-seven year old father-in-law has begun to study Torah.

On a regular basis.

With Peter Pitzele.

As a member of an Explora-Torah group.

He’s so excited he can hardly wait to share his insights in our weekly phone conversations. His excitement is infectious - I can hardly wait to hear what he's learning!

He says: “Peter asks questions. That’s the difference. He doesn’t tell us the answers. He asks us what we would think or say or do if we were in that situation.”

And he says: “You begin to see how it can make sense.”

Then he says: “Not everyone sees it the same way, but that’s okay.”

And finally: "You have to listen. Even if it's not what you're expecting someone to say, you can't put them down."

Peter Pitzele is the developer of Bibliodrama, an approach to studying sacred text which involves biblical investigation, improve theatre, and fun! The author of Scripture Windows: Toward a Practice of Bibliodrama (Torah Aura, 1998), Peter helps bring text to life by encouraging participants to respond “as if” they were the character in the text. On his website, Peter describes what Bibliodrama has to offer:

Combining a close reading of biblical texts with searching, imaginative questions, Bibliodrama offers people of all ages and levels of knowledge an opportunity to experience of a method of creative study that, in the past twenty five years, has changed the way we read the Bible.

Peter is a master teacher.

And from my father-in-law I have learned (again) it is critical

  • to meet the learner where s/he is;
  • to engage them in the learning process;
  • to allow them to “own” that which they are learning;
  • to provide ways in which they can reflect on what they’ve learned.
Perhaps that makes my father-in-law a master teacher, too?

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